Tuesday, February 16, 2010

the word of His power

...And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power...(Hebrews 1:3)

As we learned previously, the writer of the epistle to the Hebrews offers a glimpse of the role of Christ in the creation of the universe, revealing Him as the one "through whom [God] made the world" (Hebrews 1:2). In addition, we alluded to other passages, both internal and external to the epistle under discussion, in which we see Christ's role as Creator expounded upon even further. Essentially, all things were created not only through Him, but also for Him and by Him (2:9; John 1:1-3; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Colossians 1:16). Jesus is not merely some means or tool by which God created all that is; Jesus is co-Creator with God, being Himself one Person of the Triune Godhead, all of whom partake of (or share) the same being and substance.
Here in verse 3 the author expands upon Christ's role in creating and relationship to creation by declaring that He "upholds all things by the word of His power" (Hebrews 1:3). So, in the first part of this proposition we see that Jesus is not only active in creatio originans ("originating creation"); He is also active in creatio continuans ("continuing creation"). Jesus Christ is the dynamic Sustainer of the entirety of the created realm. As Paul the Apostle writes, "[Jesus] is before all things, and in Him all things hold together" (Colossians 1:17).
What is unique about the concept that this phrase in Hebrews captures (& other similar passages) in conjunction with the descriptions of the creation in Genesis 1 and John 1:1-3 is the verbal aspect of creation. Not surprisingly, this verbal aspect of the act of creation reveals something of the nature of the agent that is able to bring about such an inimitable type of activity. We are then, more or less, seeking to answer the following: What type of being or person can create and sustain by word alone? In the Scriptures, the only Person that possesses such an attribute is that which is uncreated, and there is only One who is uncreated: God. As a result, we have yet another proposition that undeniably implies the deity of Christ, given the theological context of Old Testament Judaism.
Exactly how God achieves this verbal aspect of creating and sustaining must remain at present a beautiful mystery. Though God has been so gracious to reveal part of His nature by declaring His ability to speak things that are not into existence as if they were, we are humbled to know that such a simple action (from God's perspective) is, in its entirety, incomprehensible for us who are incapable of doing such. Yet, this should by no means discourage us, for God invites us to know and trust in Him who is able to speak and, therefore, create, and to speak and, therefore, sustain. As we fix our gaze upon Jesus, we take comfort in knowing that since He is able to "uphold all things by the word of His power," so He will be able to sustain us to the end.

1 comment:

  1. So amazing to think about the fact that the one who can speak all things into existence, is the same one who hears us when we pray! And, like you said, will sustain us to the end! Sometimes I forget just how completely powerful our God is! Thanks you for causing me to focus on His greatness!